On Friday, Sept. 21, the Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council (LSOHC) recommended full funding of the $2.3 million requested for the nature preserve in southern Inver Grove.
The LSOHC was established by the legislature and tasked with providing annual funding recommendations to the legislature from the Outdoor Heritage Fund. The funds come from the 0.375% sales tax approved by voters in 2008 to preserve and protect woodlands, wetlands and open space.
The IGH nature preserve was submitted as part of the overall Dakota County request for projects throughout the county.
All told, Dakota County asked legislators for $4.04 million (see PDF, HA 02) for the following projects:
"Protecting 730 acres of habitat along the Vermillion, Cannon and Mississppi Rivers, Marcott and Chub Lake and the largest privately owned forest in Dakota County through acquisition of conservation easements and fee title, as well as restore/enhance 350 acres."
During an Aug. 14 city council meeting landowner Vance Grannis, Jr. told the council it was his understanding that State funding for a conservation easement for his 150 acres would be contingent on the existence of a DNR-sponsored gun safety program.
The council originally rejected the program but reversed its vote when councilman Bill Klein reconsidered his stance two weeks later.
"Receiving the recommendation of the Outdoor Heritage Council is a huge step forward in making Inver Grove's proposed nature preserve a reality," Minnesota Rep. Joe Atkins told Patch. "We still have hard work to do to get the legislature's approval in the spring, but this is enormously helpful."
The next step in the process is getting the full approval of the legislature at some point in the late Fall or early Spring.
"We wish (the legislature) luck," Inver Grove mayor George Tourville said. "It's in their hands now. Onward and forward!"